Review: Seth MacFarlane emcees a conflicted, bloated, song-heavy Oscar-cast

'Family Guy' creator sings, dances and occasionally offends at Academy Awards

  • Critic's Rating C-
  • Readers' Rating C+
<p>Seth MacFarlane was flanked by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Daniel Radcliffe in one of my Academy Awards musical numbers.</p>

Seth MacFarlane was flanked by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Daniel Radcliffe in one of my Academy Awards musical numbers.

Credit: AP

The career of Seth MacFarlane has often seemed like a battle for supremacy between Frat Boy Seth and Old-Time Hollywood Seth, and every time it seems the former has won, the latter will slip an extended recreation of "Shipoopi" from "The Music Man" into an episode of "Family Guy." He makes his money on dick and fart jokes and '80s reference humor, but you get the sense sometimes that he'd be happier singing showtunes.

MacFarlane's stint as host of the 2013 Academy Awards was that battle writ large, on the most prominent stage he's ever had, and a rare one where he wasn't hiding behind an animated rendering of an evil baby or a crude teddy bear. MacFarlane came out dressed in a classic black tuxedo, channeling Johnny Carson as he cracked jokes about being the last choice to host the show and about "Argo" being "so top secret that the film's director is unknown to the Academy." It was Old-Time Hollywood Seth all the way for a few minutes, before the other guy started to slip in and cause trouble, starting with a Chris Brown joke that drew groans in the room and another about the dialogue of "Django Unchained" being "loosely based on Mel Gibson's voicemails."

MacFarlane attempted to have it both ways as his monologue brought in William Shatner as Captain Kirk, sent back from the 23rd Century to prevent him from being the worst Oscar host ever. Each time MacFarlane asked what he had done to offend so many, Kirk provided video evidence — a musical number listing actresses who have shown their breasts on camera (at times in movies about rape, like "The Accused"), or a sock puppet adaptation of "Flight" — at pretty much full length each time. He tried to apologize for these offenses with more traditional songs — crooning Frank Sinatra while Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum danced around him, or teaming up with Daniel Radcliffe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt for "High Hopes" — but the device still got the offending material into the show in its entirety. Give us 10 or 15 seconds of "We Saw Your Boobs," and it's effective self-satire; give us the whole thing, and that's what you really wanted to do, framework or no.

Either way, a monologue that ran over 15 minutes — setting the stage for a show that ended more than a half hour past its allotted time — and was largely about the persona of the host and not the movies was not an auspicious start to a frequently messy, but occasionally surprising and/or entertaining evening. MacFarlane had some funny moments here and there (I actually liked the sock puppet gag, and thought his variation on the tired old "this next presenter needs no introduction" was clever, to name two), but he missed way more than he hit, and Frat Boy Seth quickly assumed dominance as the evening went along, typified by the joke about 9-year-old nominee Quvenzhané Wallis growing up to one day have sex with George Clooney, or the one where he suggested that "Zero Dark Thirty" was a story about "every woman's innate ability to never ever let anything go."

And what was odd was that if ever there was a night for Old-Time Hollywood Seth to carry the day, it was this one — not just because it was the Oscars, but because Oscar-cast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron seemed to only care about the classic pageantry of movie musicals. They made the music of the movies the night's theme, did two separate tributes to "Chicago" — which, not coincidentally, was produced by Zadan and Meron — and built two other of the night's centerpieces (first the much-hyped but largely underwhelming James Bond tribute, then the In Memoriam segment) around a diva standing at center stage and belting (respectively, Shirley Bassey on "Goldfinger" and Barbra Streisand on "The Way We Were").

For a while there, those musical numbers — which also included Jennifer Hudson (currently appearing on the Zadan/Meron-produced "Smash") doing "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" — were the only parts of the show that seemed to be working at all, and even they didn't uniformly work. Adele's rendition of the theme from "Skyfall" was horribly mixed; when one of the best, most powerful voices in all of music is getting drowned out by anything or anyone, someone has very badly screwed up. But that was still preferable to the way the scripted intros kept bombing while the presenters looked mortified, or the way the orchestra kept loudly piping in the "Jaws" theme to drown out winners whose speeches ran long, even as they were in the middle of really emotional moments.(*)

(*) Anne Hathaway's speech ran longer than either of the winners who got "Jaws"ed earlier in the evening, which isn't a knock on her but on the obnoxiousness of the system. When I mentioned this on Twitter, several people suggested that an actor would never get played off the stage, when it's happened frequently — including in this very category a year ago, when Octavia Spencer didn't get to finish her speech, either. Maybe if you cut the monologue a bit and keep it down to a single "Chicago" tribute, the "Jaws" music becomes less essential, eh?

Things perked up a bit as the show moved into its second half, which both featured more of the winners everyone in the audience cared about, and where the winners were more unpredictable and/or had better speeches. The problem was that it took so long to get there — it was an hour and 40 minutes into the show before the second acting award was presented — and the producers for some reason kept inserting MacFarlane into the show, when even the best hosts tend to find their presence minimized the later in the evening it gets, that it was hard to stay fully engaged in a lot of it.

As I always say, there are some things the producers of the Oscars can't avoid. There will always be too many awards the viewers at home don't care about — though at least this year, the sound awards offered the unexpected running gag of all the winners looking like "Die Hard" henchmen — and the march of awards season sucks much of the surprise and creativity out of the final event. (I knew watching the Golden Globes, for instance, that Hathaway wasn't going to top her speech that night, and she never did.)

But the bloat can be controlled. The writing can be a hell of a lot better, as can the directing. (The "Avengers" cast's bit was going to bomb no matter what, but it wasn't helped by our inability to see Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Downey Jr. at the same time.) And the host can pick one identity and stick with it — preferably, the one that's better suited for the occasion.

The night ended, of course, not with Ben Affleck's moving "Argo" victory speech, but with one more song. MacFarlane returned to the stage with Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth to sing "Here's to the Losers," an original ditty trying to console the non-winning likes of Bradley Cooper ("Here's your silver lining: You'll do 'Hangover 4!'"). It was the night in a nutshell: an unnecessary musical number, a prolongation of a show with way too much fat on its bones, featuring a combination of poor production technique and half-hearted performance from MacFarlane and Chenoweth (who were, of course, singing to a rapidly-emptying theater) that rendered the lyrics difficult to hear at times, and in questionable taste overall.

No, Seth MacFarlane won't go down in history as the worst Oscar host ever. James Franco has that title in a death grip, and will take 50 other jobs if necessary to hang onto it. But it's hard to imagine either him or Zadan and Meron being asked back after tonight's show.

Some other thoughts:

* There are always going to be unfortunate omissions to the In Memoriam reel, but how on Earth do you leave out Andy Griffith? Yes, he was most famous as a TV actor, but when you star in perhaps the best movie ever made about celebrity (Elia Kazan's "A Face in the Crowd"), that's enough to qualify even before you factor in "No Time for Sergeants," "Waitress," etc.

* Daniel Day-Lewis is just better than the rest of us, here delivering the best joke of the night when suggesting that originally, he was going to play Margaret Thatcher while presenter Meryl Streep was Spielberg's first choice to be Abe Lincoln.

* One piece of bloat from past shows that Zadan and Meron thankfully cut out was the individual speeches to the acting nominees, instead giving us actual clips of the work.

* The White House has had a role in the Oscars before — Ronald Reagan, for instance, recorded a message that opened the 1981 show — but it had been a while before First Lady Michelle Obama teamed up to present Best Picture with Jack Nicholson. I can't have been the only one disappointed that she didn't open the envelope and say "Argo fuck yourself," can I?

What did everybody else think? How do you think MacFarlane did? Did any speeches stand out to you? Did you want even more musical numbers?

Alan Sepinwall may be reached at sepinwall@hitfix.com

Alan-sepinwall-sm
Alan Sepinwall
Sr. Editor, What's Alan Watching
Alan Sepinwall has been reviewing television since the mid-'90s, first for Tony Soprano's hometown paper, The Star-Ledger, and now for HitFix. His new book, "The Revolution Was Televised," about the last 15 years of TV drama, is for sale at Amazon. He can be reached at sepinwall@hitfix.com

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Next 226 Comments
  • Default-avatar

    Randy

    So did they spoil the end of Django?

    February 25, 2013 at 3:07AM EST Reply to Comment
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      nic919 Yes, and they also spoiled Flight, which luckily I caught a few hours before the show.

      February 25, 2013 at 3:14AM EST
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      TGCVersion3Point0 They spoiled the end of those two films, and many others including Silver Linings Playbook. Me and my fiancee were shocked at this.

      February 25, 2013 at 9:35AM EST
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      birkoff1 Django's a Tarantino revenge movie. Just to what extent does it not inherently spoil itself?

      February 25, 2013 at 11:35AM EST
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      Dezbot Those movies have been out for weeks (or even months). How long are they supposed to wait not to spoil it for someone?

      February 25, 2013 at 12:33PM EST
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      aidont well the oscars are being broadcast into other countries too, were some of the films haven't been out for weeks, if they've been out at all. they definitely shouldn't have included those spoilers.

      February 25, 2013 at 1:09PM EST
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      Brandon I feel like spoil basically means "did they show anything from the movie?"

      February 25, 2013 at 1:42PM EST
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      TJ I feel like "spoil" means: "did they show anything that would ruin the ending before you got to the end of the first act?" So, showing Flight's deposition scene wouldn't necessarily ruin the movie for you in that moment, but by about the 30 minute mark, you'd know you'd already seen the ending. Same with Silver Linings. Whereas Django, I think, you wouldn't understand the relavece--till really close to the end--of what you'd had shown to you.

      February 25, 2013 at 2:45PM EST
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      David D. That's nothing. Does anyone remember the clip they chose for "Chinatown" in the 1976 broadcast? It was "She's my daughter." Seriously.

      February 25, 2013 at 3:45PM EST
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      Dax I remember Howards End being strangely spoiled in an Oscar clip...

      February 25, 2013 at 8:15PM EST
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      Guest Who cares if they ruined Flight, it was a terrible movie

      February 26, 2013 at 1:58AM EST
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    Jordan

    I guess I just don't know what to expect from an Oscars host because I thought Seth MacFarlane did a fine job. Yes, his jokes were occasionally juvenile and the sheer amount of musical numbers was silly, but I'm not sure what we're supposed to expect out of our host.

    Billy Crystal is always terrible, in my opinion, because he just tells jokes that old men would tell and there's never any bite or ingenuity to them. At least Seth made a mark on this one and I thought that he was generally a pleasant host which is more than I can say for the last few.

    Hugh Jackman was awesome, though.

    February 25, 2013 at 3:08AM EST Reply to Comment
    • Nah, "juvenile" is farting in church and giggling about it. Making an already icky sex gag about a nine year old girl? Creepy is more like it.

      February 25, 2013 at 3:36AM EST
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      Amanda But was it really a 'sex gag'? He said she was however many years too young for Clooney. Calling that a sex joke is stretching it. Did I miss part of that joke?

      February 25, 2013 at 10:59AM EST
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      oliver I've found myself to be an occasional fan of 'Family Guy', watching the series on-and-off until the sophomoric humor grows tiring. Last night I thought Seth MacFarlane's hosting effort was like a 3-1/2 hour version of FG, complete with many jokes that just seemed to fall flat.

      I was also disappointed that the 007 tribute did not include a return of all the Bond actors on stage. That would not only have been a great tribute, but given the advanced ages of Connery, Moore and Lazenby it was probably the last opportunity to get all of them together on one stage.

      February 25, 2013 at 11:07AM EST
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      bryan-a I concur Amanda - didn't hear a "sex" joke either. Alan is a little over sensitive on this one.

      February 25, 2013 at 11:25AM EST
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      joel Making any comment regarding the future sex life of a nine-year-old actress is utterly tasteless and horrible. I can't believe anyone would try to defend or downplay that. An entire musical number about seeing actresses' breasts honestly isn't much better. But the Academy hired Seth McFarlane and had to know what to expect, so ultimately the Academy is to blame.

      February 25, 2013 at 12:33PM EST
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      John I'd say making any reference, explicit or (in this case) implicit to a nine-year-old dating a 51-year-old guy is creepy and inappropriate.

      February 25, 2013 at 12:34PM EST
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      bryan-a oh give me a break people - I can't believe I'm defending Seth Macfarlane but come on - the joke first of all was about Clooney, not the girl. Secondly it was about the "future adult woman" not the girl and third to automatically go to visions of a 9 year ol'ds sex life says more about the commentor than it does the one telling the joke.

      February 25, 2013 at 1:04PM EST
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      Kate L It looks like a lot of people didn't get the joke: it was that she IS old enough for Clooney at 9, but wouldn't be by the time she was 21 (or however many years he mentioned). NOW do we see that it's creepy?

      February 25, 2013 at 1:58PM EST
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      albatross What else could it have been but a sex joke? He wasn't referring to babysitting. It wasn't overtly sexual, but I thought it was creepy.

      February 25, 2013 at 3:20PM EST
    • @bryan-a "oh give me a break people - I can't believe I'm defending Seth Macfarlane but come on - the joke first of all was about Clooney, not the girl."

      So, why didn't MacFarlane make the same joke about 22 year-old Jennifer Lawrence having three years before she was "too old" for Clooney instead? Why go straight for the nine year old girl? I'll tell you the answer: Because MacFarlane is just a privileged straight white man-child who was more interested in getting a cheap laugh than showing any human decency whatsoever.

      And just for the record, I'm 27 years younger than my partner of 18 years. So, guess what - I don't find it intrinsically laughable (or 'weird' or 'creepy') that George Clooney has a taste for dating consenting adults who happen to be significantly younger than him. In his position, I'd have just got on that stage and punched MacFarlane in the mouth instead of visibly cringing. Which just says, probably, Clooney is a better man than me.

      February 25, 2013 at 4:24PM EST
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      JC Kate L, you misinterpreted it. The joke was that in 16 years (when she's 25) she will then be too old. No where does that imply that she's old enough for him already at 9.

      February 25, 2013 at 4:26PM EST
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      Andrew Why make it about Ms. Wallis and not Lawrence? Because it was one in several repeating jokes about just how young Ms. Wallis was compared to her nominees. It was part of a string, and so to make the joke about Ms. Lawrence wouldn't have been funny. And for those who think Clooney should have been offended, you've obviously never seen the man give a single interview. There's a reason he cracked open the whiskey when Seth threw it to him.

      February 25, 2013 at 6:20PM EST
    • @Andrew. I've seen many interview with George Clooney where, in effect, he just shrugs his shoulders about the kind of nonsense that gets written about his personal life, his politics, how (if you believe the gossip sites) he's screwed every half-way attractive woman he's ever talked to. He's got a rather charming SELF-deprecating (note the emphasis) sense of humour about himself, his career and being a 'celebrity'. Don't recall him making any sleazy jokes how long it's going to be until child actors are too old for him, but I'm willing to stand corrected if you'd like to shoot me a link.

      February 25, 2013 at 8:48PM EST
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      Andrew @Craig Again, you're misrepresenting the joke, and now you're misrepresenting my point. My point was simply that Clooney wouldn't have been offended, and I'm pretty sure wasn't offended (though I admit, I've recently lost his private cell phone number) because he himself has a wicked and quick sense of humor about himself and his dating life. And again, this joke was not to try and make us all conjure, "Ohh, just how long before this legal girl is legal??", it was to say, "Hey, this little actress is so young, it's going to be a long time before she's too old for Clooney, because we all know Clooney only dates young twenty-somethings." At not point in my mind during the joke was I thinking, "Yeah, ol Clooney's gonna be calling up Ms. Wallis tonight!"

      February 25, 2013 at 8:58PM EST
    • @Andrew. I can't read Clooney's mind, and neither can you. All I said is that in his position I would have been horribly offended at having my name dragged into a sleazy gag with a little girl. Guess we're not going to know what he thinks unless he decides to express a public opinion either way. And, FFS, I really do "get" the joke. You don't have to agree with my reading of it (you obviously don't) but PLEASE try accepting that I'm not stupid and am expressing an honestly held opinion in good faith.

      February 25, 2013 at 9:47PM EST
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      Grant Craig, putting an upper limit on Clooney's theoretically acceptable woman doesn't mean that there's no lower limit. He's not saying Clooney would date her now, he's saying Clooney wouldn't date her in 15 years. Those are very different things. You're grasping at anything to be offended about.

      The joke is a commentary on Clooney's ostensible taste in women, and a disapproving one at that. You'd think that in a world full of hipsters obsessed with irony there'd be some people who understand that there's a difference between ironically commenting on racism and sexism and actually being racist and sexist.

      Jesus, were you offended by Blazing Saddles?

      February 26, 2013 at 3:28AM EST
    • @GRANT "You're grasping at anything to be offended about." Jesus, Grant, if you bend over any further backwards to hand-wave away the simple fact that THIS "JOKE" INVOLVED A NINE YEAR OLD GIRL your head's going to vanish up your rump.

      February 26, 2013 at 3:33AM EST
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      Grant No, dude. It's a joke about whether or not George Clooney would date this nine year old girl in 15 years when she's 24.

      February 26, 2013 at 3:37AM EST
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      Slam The joke was about George Clooney, and to twist it around so its about pedophilia is sad

      February 26, 2013 at 1:47PM EST
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      mario culachi this exchange is sad, and a testament to why you didn't enjoy the telecast

      February 26, 2013 at 8:02PM EST
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      University College What's sad is that several men mansplain in a row and think they're correct.

      March 15, 2013 at 8:37AM EST
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    JLPatt

    It was fine. People can be way too critical about these things. I didn't mind the length at all - the longer the better for me - but certainly we did not need ALL those musical numbers. That time could been devoted to things (movies) more relevant to 2012, not to mention letting people talk longer.

    But it was fine, really. Enjoyed it. MacFarlane has great presence and made a solid host.

    February 25, 2013 at 3:09AM EST Reply to Comment
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    chet

    God, I struggle to think of another artist with a similarly wide differential between "how much I tend to love their work," and "how much hearing them speak publicly about their work makes me cringe" than I feel toward Quentin Tarantino.

    February 25, 2013 at 3:10AM EST Reply to Comment
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      svetlana You are so right! I was cringing before he even spoke because i knew it would be awkward. Why does he have to look so dishevelled, couldnt his girlfriend have straightened his tie at least? Seth was an okay host, anyone is better than billy crystal who is an insufferable bore in my opinion. I've watched the show for many years and going a half an hour over isn't that bad, there were years where they went an hour long if not more. Overall its the most boring of all the awards shows, but there really is no way to fix it since there are only 6 catergories most people care about. I dont know how I sat through all the boring catergories before dvr's, i probably watched the whole thing in 90 minutes.a

      February 25, 2013 at 6:22AM EST
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      Emma So true!! After a questionable self praising start, he ended up getting through it unscathed. I was very happy he mentioned how great the other scripts were. Dont think he deserved the award- most people probay felt the same.

      February 25, 2013 at 12:28PM EST
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    XK

    I actually laughed at a fair bit of McFarlane's stuff, but I agree that the intro went too long, and the Oscars broadcast in general came across as fairly amateurish; most of the presenters either butchered their material or adequately delivered material that came pre-butchered, and I did not feel like the musical numbers were part of any cohesive, coherent vision. Ideally, the numbers should be a vehicle for moving the show forward, but I mostly felt like they were just songs stuck in the middle without much rhyme or reason.

    Still, not the worst Oscars broadcast I've ever seen, and I think that, even in its unevenness, there was more entertainment to be had than in some of the god-awful ultra-staid productions of the past (or, even worse, Franco and Hathaway's hosting).

    February 25, 2013 at 3:10AM EST Reply to Comment
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      true blue And this might be a nitpick on my part, but when you have two presenters on stage together, the director would be wise to maintain the pair on camera instead of having these awkward-looking cutaways to a single shot of one presenter, which normally took place after they had finished speaking. Funny how Seth made an effort to point out the director's name, because I honestly thought the show's direction was less than stellar.

      February 25, 2013 at 11:12AM EST
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      rugman11 I actually wondered if the whole bit with Robert Downey, Jr. and Samuel L. Jackson was supposed to be a subtle joke since they were presenting Best Cinematography but they couldn't get the two on camera together.

      February 25, 2013 at 11:15AM EST
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    Fin Alyn

    The comedy dialogue between presenters is, and always has been, terrible. Just stop it and let them come out, present the nominees, and name the winner. Simple, cut 20 minutes from the show right there, and everybody is happy.

    February 25, 2013 at 3:12AM EST Reply to Comment
    • Mr_burns_89_01_talkback_profile

      Jonas.Left I have no experience writing for an awards show, but it seems like they should involve the presenters in crafting these bits. When you have two genuinely funny people like Paul Rudd an Melissa McCarthy, there's no excuse for them falling flat. They obviously made sure the actors involved in the opening song and dance numbers were comfortable with them. Why not the presenter's dialogue?

      February 25, 2013 at 5:48PM EST
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    Lee Harvey

    Felt the show overall was flat and pretty boring. This is the first time I can remember just wishing it would end. Very few memorable moments.

    February 25, 2013 at 3:13AM EST Reply to Comment
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    Wiseguy400

    I think you need to lighten up Ala. Thought MacFarlane was great. He was funny, irreverent and I liked the monologue. The ending number was lame and the Chicago stuff sucked, but Seth was hilarious. Billy Crystal was terrible, but if that's your thing, then there's nothing I can say to change your mindset.

    February 25, 2013 at 3:13AM EST Reply to Comment
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      JB When did Alan say anything about Crystal? I'd suggest that, rather than Alan lightening up, finding McFarlane's performance hilarious suggests one's standards for hilarity are extraordinarily charitable.

      February 25, 2013 at 5:24AM EST
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      Slam I thought MacFarlane was hilarious.

      February 26, 2013 at 2:26PM EST
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    Kenneth Omega


    Seth had a few good jokes in there but overall I thought he was a pretty poor host. The show went waaaay too long.

    I was actually really baffled by the importance of the movie Chicago in a 2013 Oscars ceremony. It was really bizarre. I was extremely astounded when I read in Alan's review here that the Producers of Chicago were the producers of this

    February 25, 2013 at 3:13AM EST Reply to Comment
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      Emma I know, we're celebrating a ten year old movie musical? Now that explains it - a sense of self importance is really tacky.

      February 25, 2013 at 12:42PM EST
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    Pat Hobby

    "Here's to the Losers" isn't an original ditty, Sinatra sang it on his "Softly as I Leave You" album in 1964, the lyrics were changed this year.

    Also in 1981 Reagan's assassination delayed the Academy Awards ceremony 24 hours and his message was taped from the hospital.

    February 25, 2013 at 3:16AM EST Reply to Comment
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      Lois Bernard And on Star Trek Deep Space Nine the hologram "Vic Fontaine" sang it.

      February 25, 2013 at 10:32AM EST
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      Twelve Thank you. Alan's post needs up be updated!

      Here's the song:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7KnYd4Qk6c

      February 25, 2013 at 11:04AM EST
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      DonBoy Regardless: isn't it weird that The Academy (TM) decided some years ago that presenters shouldn't say "The winner is...." but it's ok to call everyone else "losers"?

      February 25, 2013 at 12:29PM EST
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    Tom Armbruster

    I found the random movie music intros and outtros very distracting. Occasionally they hit the mark ("Star Trek" theme for Chris Pine and Zoe Last-name-I-don't-know'how-to-spell-and-am-too-lazy-to-look-up), but for the most part it confused me.
    I thought the "Jaws" play off was funny the first time, but more than that just felt weird.

    February 25, 2013 at 3:17AM EST Reply to Comment
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      Alanna I can't decide whether it was clever or in really poor taste that they played off Tarantino with the theme from Gone with the Wind.

      February 25, 2013 at 8:45AM EST
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      Dan Except that they played the Star Trek: TNG theme for them, not the original theme. So even there, they dropped the ball a bit.

      February 25, 2013 at 12:41PM EST
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      rkd2999 They played the theme from Star Trek The Motion Picture (1979). It is first and foremost a movie theme, despite being pilfered by a TV show some years later. ;-)

      February 25, 2013 at 3:28PM EST
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    Lbsammills51

    I was good with Seth too and enjoyed this broadcast more than most in a long while. My only complaint was that some of the bits ran too long, which is an issue I have with some Family Guy bits too. I could've gone without the producers' self-congratulation over Chicago though.

    February 25, 2013 at 3:17AM EST Reply to Comment
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    Kenneth


    Seth had a few good jokes in there but overall I thought he was a pretty poor host. The show went waaaay too long.

    I was actually really baffled by the importance of the movie Chicago in a 2013 Oscars ceremony. It was really bizarre. I was extremely astounded when I read in Alan's review here that the Producers of Chicago were the producers of this Oscars show. I mean...damn, is it even possible to get more shameless than that? Wow. Ridiculous. I'm amazed.

    February 25, 2013 at 3:18AM EST Reply to Comment
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      Kmarko Yeah, I didn't know they were the producers of Chicago either. Wow. I was struck at the time at how odd the whole "game-changing Chicago!" thing was. That's awful.

      February 25, 2013 at 9:18AM EST
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      Robin Same here...didn't know there was any connection. Now the Chicago love makes sense. At least they were smart enough not to have Zeta Jones attempt to follow Jennifer Hudson.

      February 25, 2013 at 11:39AM EST
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    Kendra

    I am not a Seth fan but I thought he did a decent job.

    I am starting to feel like the Oscars is the new SNL. Regardless of actual quality, the opinion about its quality HAS to be negative. I'm not saying people who didn't like it or SNL are lying but rather that a negative opinion has now become a self fulfilling prophecy. I can't recall a time when the opinion about the show was overwhelmingly positive. It's always "Bob Hope & Billy Crystal (but not 2012 Crystal) oh those were the days..." It's more hate watched than Smash.

    I'm not clamoring for him to be back next year but I actually enjoyed him more than I thought I would. It felt like he actually wanted to be there.

    I didn't like Michelle Obama presenting "Best Picture" mainly because I don't feel like that award, or any award, should be announced via satellite/Skype.

    Catherine Zeta Jones looked like she was lip syncing.

    The quickest way to drain the energy from giving out an award is by having more than three presenters on stage.

    February 25, 2013 at 3:21AM EST Reply to Comment
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      Another Guest CZJ *was* lip-synching. I've always thought her performance in "Chicago" was wildly over-rated. Meryl Streep should have won Best Supporting that year for her phenomenal performance in "Adaptation."

      February 25, 2013 at 3:37PM EST
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    MauraS

    I completely agree with your take, Alan. The opening was excruciating, not least because it went on way too long. McFarlane just isn't nearly as clever or talented as he thinks he is. And though he can carry a tune, that doesn't make him a singer; he has a boring, lifeless voice. The show was okay when he wasn't on, but the opening was the worst I've seen on the Oscars, and I'm including James Franco in there.

    February 25, 2013 at 3:21AM EST Reply to Comment
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      Wendi Even Rob Lowe and Snow White?

      February 25, 2013 at 8:21AM EST
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    nic919

    McFarlane was not as horrible as I thought he would be and I was impressed by his singing voice, so the musical parts I liked. However, a lot of his jokes were in poor taste. There was an undercurrent of misogyny or anti semitism in some of them that reminded me why I don't watch Family Guy anymore. I was pretty surprised at how badly Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy were at presenting when they have both been excellent in the past. I think after the overlong monologue / song and dance, it set the tone for the rest of the night.

    February 25, 2013 at 3:23AM EST Reply to Comment
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    George Costanza

    I have to respectfully disagree with Alan. I thought Macfarlane was at a minimum the best Oscars host in 6 or 7 years. Almost all of his jokes worked and his delivery was spot-on. I completely lost it over the sock puppets. The musical performances were horribly mishandled by the production crew. All the performers except for Jennifer Hudson sounded muffled.

    February 25, 2013 at 3:29AM EST Reply to Comment
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      Greg Thank you. Franco/Hathaway--terrible. Return to BillyCrystalLand--not great. Alec Baldwin/Steve Martin--should have worked, but didn't. Hugh jackman--good host, bad show. McFarlane clearly wanted to be there, and everyone at the Oscars party I was at liked him.

      February 25, 2013 at 6:53AM EST
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    Craig Ranapia

    For the folks trying to handwave off MacFarlane's as just being "juvenile". That's an adjective you apply to someone who giggles and smirks after farting in church. Making a sex gag about a nine year old girl -- and one I find hard to believe wasn't vetted before hand? Well, the words that come immediately to my mind would just lower the tone of this blog to Seth's gutter level.

    February 25, 2013 at 3:31AM EST Reply to Comment
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      leesigh3 I don't see the harm in pointing out the inevitable. Every young girl grows up to sleep with George Clooney.

      February 25, 2013 at 3:53AM EST
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      Ejura an astute point

      February 25, 2013 at 6:01AM EST
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      Jonny R @LEESIGH3 You don't see the harm in sexualising a 9 year old girl? "Welcome to the Oscars! You're just a piece of meat for men to enjoy!" That's not comedy. That's sad.

      February 25, 2013 at 7:18AM EST
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      Action_Kate @LeeSigh3: Uh, no. Straight woman here who thinks George Clooney is not only not attractive, but so greasy that I'd be afraid to have him stand on my carpet because he'd leave an oil stain. He may do great things politically, but every time I see him, I just get this vibe of "walking pile of Brylcreem." I seriously skeeve him. I wouldn't boink George Clooney with Seth MacFarlane's naughty bits.

      February 25, 2013 at 7:39AM EST
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      Ken I don't think the joke had ANYTHING to do with sexualizing a 9 year old girl: the joke was about Clooney not sleeping with anyone over age 25. It wasn't "look out, little girl, Clooney might want to sex you up," it was "you're 16 years away from being too old for Clooney."

      February 25, 2013 at 8:18AM EST
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      TGCVersion3Point0 Well at least Ken got the joke, not the five or six others who were and probably always are looking for a reason to be offended.

      February 25, 2013 at 9:41AM EST
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      jmspencer Yes! What Ken said. The joke was not about her, the joke was at Clooney's expense. I am consistently amazed at the lengths to which people will go to be offended.

      February 25, 2013 at 10:04AM EST
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      menahmenah I also don't think Seth helped himself much with his reactions when his jokes fell flat, at times looking like he was going to break out into Albert Brooks 'Broadcast News'-like sweats.

      February 25, 2013 at 11:20AM EST
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      joel Yeah, Ken and TG, I'll come over to your house and make jokes about your nine-year-old daughter/niece's future sex partners and we'll see how it goes over. It may have been a joke about Clooney, and honestly not a funny one, but the context completely destroyed it. It was tasteless.

      February 25, 2013 at 12:39PM EST
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      John No, we got the joke. It's just that whether the joke is at Clooney's expense or not, it's inappropriate to involve a nine-year-old girl in it. If it's really about Clooney not dating anyone over 25, why not say Jennifer Lawrence (22) is three years away from being too old for Clooney? That's the exact same joke, but it doesn't involve a nine-year-old girl.

      February 25, 2013 at 12:41PM EST
    • Thank you @John! Got it. Could have made the same "joke" about Jennifer Lawrence. Could have cracked a funny about Emmanuelle Rivas being waay "too old" for Clooney. Instead he went straight for the nine year old girl. Think about it.

      February 25, 2013 at 1:03PM EST
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      leesigh3 She's probably going to start having sex with older men wayyyy earlier than 16 years from now. I think MacFarlane showed admirable restraint.

      February 25, 2013 at 1:36PM EST
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      jonhllywd Thank you John and Craig for the last two posts - exactly!
      To me it comes down to 2 different types of humour.
      Would you like the joke to shock you into a giggle or laugh OR
      Would you like the wit of the joke to settle and process - then make you laugh...or even LAUGH!
      Suppose it is a preference - but I prefer to let my mind work.
      BTW - 9 year old girls having sex with 50 year old men does not make my mind work.

      February 25, 2013 at 1:44PM EST
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      University College So, I'm sorry, your argument is that "oh the nine year old girl was just a prop to make a dig about Clooney!" How is that ANY better re: misogyny?

      March 15, 2013 at 8:43AM EST
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    maryploppins

    As someone who has mixed feelings about Seth M. ... I feel like I went into watching this from a fairly neutral-ish standpoint. I had a bad feeling that he'd totally crash and burn, and I didn't want that to happen, not because I care about him, but because I simply didn't want the show to be painful to watch. So when I watched the opening monologue and found myself laughing a decent amount, I was very pleasantly surprised.

    I'm starting to think that the main thing people are angry about is that he did NOT suck nearly as much as they wanted and expected him to. I saw people in my Twitter feed getting so angry about the most *ridiculous* things. Like ... you were offended at the Lincoln joke?? Really?? I just don't understand the pleasure so many people get in searching for things to be offended about. I don't think I will ever get that mentality.

    I agree Alan that the show was bloated. I'd probably agree with you on that even more if I had watched it in realtime rather than fast forwarding through every commercial and boring speech. I think watching the show the way I did makes a *huge* difference in my enjoyment level. The show was probably a good hour shorter for me than it was for everyone who watched it in realtime.

    One last random thought: I am not joking when I say I'm at a total loss as to what was so offensive about the Chris Brown joke. I think it's great each time someone reminds everyone that the guy is a woman-beater, because it's true. If someone could explain to me what was offensive about it, I'd be very appreciative.

    February 25, 2013 at 3:34AM EST Reply to Comment
    • Batman_the_animated_series_talkback_profile

      Cousin Larry Appleton The details of the joke don't really matter, the basic premise is that he is trying to elicit laughter from referencing the act of domestic violence. That's a no-no. If MacFarlane had told a joke that basically just called out Brown for being a terrible human being, without having to resort to the attack, then I doubt many would have cared, or been offended. (Amy Poehler essentially got big laughs for using this tactic towards James Cameron at the Golden Globes)

      I agree with you about the Lincoln joke. Although I'm not sure people were offended by the "riskiness" of the joke, as much as the staleness of the joke. Personally I thought there was clever enough wordplay that it came off as more than a typical "how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln"-esque joke. But to each their own.

      February 25, 2013 at 4:00AM EST
    • "I think it's great each time someone reminds everyone that the guy is a woman-beater, because it's true. If someone could explain to me what was offensive about it, I'd be very appreciative."

      Here's the alleged joke:
      "[Django Unchained] is the story of a man fighting to get back his woman, who's been subjected to unthinkable violence. Or as Chris Brown and Rihanna call it, a date movie."

      Sorry, could you explain ANYTHING about that

      February 25, 2013 at 4:02AM EST

    • "I think it's great each time someone reminds everyone that the guy is a woman-beater, because it's true. If someone could explain to me what was offensive about it, I'd be very appreciative."

      Here's the alleged joke:
      "[Django Unchained] is the story of a man fighting to get back his woman, who's been subjected to unthinkable violence. Or as Chris Brown and Rihanna call it, a date movie."

      Sorry, could you explain ANYTHING about that
      that's NOT offensive. MacFarlane does remember that Chris Brown pleaded guilty to felony assault after an incident in which Rihanna was hospitalized, right? On what planet would a decent human being think that's any occasion for a cheap joke, that seems to have no other point than hah hah! aren't violent black men hilarious. To coin a phease, Argo f**k yourself you crass hack MacFarlaine.

      February 25, 2013 at 4:07AM EST
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      maryploppins @Cousin Larry Appleton - Thanks for the insights. On the Lincoln topic, if some people thought it was stale then *that* I could understand. It certainly was not the funniest joke I've ever heard. I think because I went into the show expecting Seth M to crash and burn, I came out of it enjoying it way more than I would have if I had been expecting it to be the most awesome thing ever hahah.

      As for the Chris Brown joke, I see what you are saying, and again the joke wasn't necessarily the funniest or most clever thing I've ever heard. But I guess I just don't subscribe to the "that topic is off limits" idea in comedy. IMO nothing is off limits as long as you tackle it in a way that is clever and insightful. Which, again Seth didn't necessarily achieve that 100% haha. I just always find myself cheering any time someone calls out Chris Brown for being a total jerk.

      February 25, 2013 at 4:25AM EST
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      maryploppins Oh and @Craig Michael Ranapia - I think you miss the point of Chris Brown jokes entirely. The point is to call out the TRUTH of the situation, which is that the guy is a woman beater who seems to be completely UNapologetic and in total denial about his anger and violence issues. He has made basically zero effort to better himself, and now Rihanna is back with him again. I think everyone being "polite" and pretending everything is o.k. with that situation is the most harmful and least helpful thing any of us can do. The truth ain't always pretty, but ignoring it and hiding from it is extremely unhealthy.

      February 25, 2013 at 4:37AM EST
    • @MaryPloppins. Well, I'm sure Chris Brown is heading into anger management therapy after Seth MacFarlane's incredibly thoughtful intervention. Call me a cynic, but I think the only point was 'Frat Boy Seth' trying terribly hard to be shocking and controversial, and just ending up show what a clueless privileged straight white man-child he actually is.

      February 25, 2013 at 6:06AM EST
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      Alana Walter Great take on the show, Mary. I agree that people are trying too hard to hate it. Really the only bad jokes to me were the tired "this show is going on SO long!" and "Hollywood is so full of Jews!" ones that the writers always hammer home to hard on us. Seth looked like he hated delivering these old Billy Crystal-style jokes, and was more comfortable when being cut loose to do his more risque stuff. Overall, he entertained me more than any host in recent years.

      February 25, 2013 at 9:35AM EST
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      Emma The Chris Brown joke, along with some others, was tacky in part because the oscars is telecast to the entire world. Why are we giving Chris Brown attention-and embarrassing Rhianna- on a world stage. Same perhaps with the joke about the 9 yr old and George Clooney. I get the joke is about Clooney and not the girl but when you're associating a nine yr old girl (who is sitting in the audience with her family) with a joke about george clooney's sexcapades-again, to the entire globe- it's classless.
      And I had no expectations of Seth- I actually have seem little of him besides knowing that he wrote the family guy. If you thought he did a great job, then you might just be easily entertained.
      And lastly, Alan I'm so glad you called him out about his song referencing jodie foster's boobs-- in a movie in which her character was gang raped!! Funny Seth. And having that song on at 8:30 when kids might be watching isn't very classy either.
      Overall he was lame. Jokes fell felt and monologue was a hodgepodge of things that didn't work.

      February 25, 2013 at 1:43PM EST
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      Jonas.Left The Chris Brown joke was just a lame joke. There have been plenty of good ones.

      February 25, 2013 at 6:03PM EST
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      maryploppins @Craig Michael Ranapia - "Well, I'm sure Chris Brown is heading into anger management therapy after Seth MacFarlane's incredibly thoughtful intervention." Oh please you know that's not what I meant. Nothing is going to change in that situation until Chris and/or Rihanna hit a rock bottom point and eventually come to their senses on their own, and that may never happen at all. All I'm saying is that the only thing any of the rest of us can do about it is to choose to be truthful about the sitch or not. And I choose to be honest and not mince words about what's really going on there.

      "I think the only point was 'Frat Boy Seth' trying terribly hard to be shocking and controversial..." Yeah there's always a good helping of some sort of self-focused motivation for any comedian, but I don't look at it as 100% of the motivation. And I'm not even sure how much I care, since the end result is the same either way. The joke got the desired reaction from the audience and I had fun with it. Robert Downey Jr. giving it a thumbs up was amusing too.

      February 25, 2013 at 7:51PM EST
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      maryploppins @Alana Walter - "Really the only bad jokes to me were the tired 'this show is going on SO long!' and 'Hollywood is so full of Jews!' ones that the writers always hammer home to hard on us." Dude yes agree 100%, those were the exact ones that fell flat for me too. Getting a host in there who ruffles up some feathers is usually a good thing, it keeps people on their toes during the broadcast. I love everyone then getting their panties in a twist about it after it's over, and then next year we can maybe get a really "appropriate", "polite" and "entertaining" host back in there again like ... Billy Crystal. Zzzz.

      @Jonas.Left - Like I said it's certainly not the best Chris Brown joke I've ever heard, there have been many better ones. I just didn't get what was offensive about it.

      February 25, 2013 at 8:01PM EST
    • Mr_burns_89_01_talkback_profile

      Jonas.Left MARYPLOPPINS Did you see Mary J. Blige praising Rihanna as a role model? That's what I call an offensive joke.

      February 25, 2013 at 8:12PM EST
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      maryploppins @Jonas.Left - No I haven't seen that Mary J. Blige thing, but if it happened then I would agree with you 100%!! Yuck.

      February 25, 2013 at 8:59PM EST
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      Gigi I don't hate MacFarlane, I am mostly indifferent. But he totally missed on several jokes, both in terms of level of humor and sense of taste. Hosts can be edgy and entertaining, it needn't be bland and boring. But I thought the jokes that failed weren't for being too edgy/offensive as too easy and stale.

      With the Lincoln joke, it just wasn't funny at all. I don't think a Lincoln/John Wilkes Booth joke will always fail, but for it to work, it can't be a concept/punchline that has been stale for the last 145 years. I think the audience groaned and gasped because they were shocked MacFarlane thought it was a funny joke rather than because they were offended by it.

      The same thing goes for the Chris Brown thing. There's still funny jokes to be made about that person/situation, but that wasn't one of them. It probably could have been tweaked slightly to exclude Rihanna and still include Chris Brown, and it may not have been funnier, but at least less offensive.

      And, finally, the Clooney joke had the same problems: not particularly funny, not particularly true to Clooney's dating history and it obliquely referenced the potential future sex life of a young girl, which is kind of creepy. I wasn't as offended by it as others here, but thought it was strange and not well thought out. Clooney's current girlfriend is 33, and his last few girlfriends seem to be in that 30-40 range. It's not like he's serially dating 22-year-olds. And making any sort of reference to a nine-year-old dating (and thus sleeping with) a 51-year-old, even abstractly, even far into in the future, is just cringe-worthy.

      February 25, 2013 at 10:01PM EST
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    Flight Sock Puppet

    I thought Seth did fine. How often is there a perfect Oscar show where every joke lands and everything is perfect? The show flowed fairly smoothly and had some nice speeches and memorable moments. That's all you can really ask for out of an Oscar telecast. It is funny how the people that don't like Seth have such a stick up their ass on any joke that's the slightest bit risque.
    I hope next year they get Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to host. They'll probably do well and even if they don't do that well, every writer will rave about how they were the best hosts ever regardless.

    February 25, 2013 at 3:41AM EST Reply to Comment
    • Yeah, funny how I have a "stick up my ass" about sex gags about nine year old children. Says a lot that Seth MacFarlaine fans don't.

      February 25, 2013 at 4:08AM EST
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      Alan B Nah, Craig, the actual premise of the joke was that George Clooney 25 is too old for Clooney, not that anyone has sex with a child. But continue being offended by things you don't understand: "To give you an idea of how young she is, it'll be 16 years until she's too old for Clooney." You might want to read or hear the joke before you get offended to it, huh?

      February 25, 2013 at 4:51AM EST
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      joel The premise of the joke is lost in the context, Alan B. It's not a very funny joke anyway, but he lost it with his set-up. He could have started the joke with the context being Hitler having sex with the Virgin Mary and it would have been just as tasteless. The fact that McFarlane fans seem to feel the need to defend this joke is sort of sad. A tasteless joke is a tasteless joke.

      February 25, 2013 at 12:45PM EST
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      Alan B Sure Joel, I HAVE to be a MacFarlane fan to UNDERSTAND a joke. I didn't laugh at it, but I am kinda bored with other people's WANTING TO BE OFFENDED BY THINGS. I am not sure how you justify the "premise of the joke is lost in the context", which is like saying, "hey, I can't be assed making up a reasonable argument about the context of the joke, but I'll just say the premise was 'lost' in some way. Sure, that will do: it was 'lost'." The point of the joke was making fun of Clooney, it's just kinda sad that maybe this dumb joke needed to be dumbed down even further so that others might understand it.

      February 25, 2013 at 8:13PM EST
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      joel If they joke is about George Clooney's penchant for dating younger women but everyone is talking about how the joke is about a nine-year-old girl's future sex life, then the premise (Clooney) has been lost in the context (pedophilia).

      I'm sorry I didn't ass that out for you more clearly, but it seems pretty obvious considering the discussion. However, you're welcome.

      February 25, 2013 at 8:18PM EST
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      joel And by the way, my problem isn't so much the joke itself but that McFarlane made the joke right in front of her. She's sitting right there! I tend to avoid making bawdy jokes in front of young children, especially if the joke also involves the child. It was tasteless.

      That said, the Sally Field bit was hilarious and he was making a joke there about her being a sexy nun he wanted to bork. Didn't mind it, found it funny.

      February 25, 2013 at 8:40PM EST
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      Alan B "If they joke is about George Clooney's penchant for dating younger women but everyone is talking about how the joke is about a nine-year-old girl's future sex life, then the premise (Clooney) has been lost in the context (pedophilia)." No, it actually means that those offended did not understand the joke, and seek to spread their own ignorance to others. Should those better informed and more intelligent HAVE TO sway to an ignorant opinion? I don't think that's either right or fair.

      February 26, 2013 at 6:31AM EST
    • @AlanB Please, build a bridge and get over yourself. OK, I get you don't see anything even slightly off-putting about putting a nine year old girl in the punchline of an already skeevy gag about George Clooney's sex life. Really, you've made that abundantly clear. Perhaps you could stop being a patronising asshole, because I'm not stupid. I'm not somehow repressing your free speech by expressing a contrary opinion. And you're not some special flower of wisdom and insight among the weeds of obtuse political correctness.

      February 26, 2013 at 7:02AM EST
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    Al

    The frat boy seth jokes were just as good as the old hollywood seth jokes. The reason the show was bad was the fact that they concentrated on it, rather then just having it be peppered through out. The other problems with the show was lack of anything interesting in their numbers or tributes. They were all kind of just there.

    February 25, 2013 at 3:50AM EST Reply to Comment
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    Toby O'B

    The lack of Andy Griffith in the tribute segment stood out to me, but I was expecting it. In years past they've ignored Harry Morgan ("Ox Bow Incident", "The Shootist", "Inherit The Wind", etc.) and Patrick McGoohan ("Ice Station Zebra", "Braveheart" - for which he was nominated for an Oscar, for pete's sake!) with that same argument that they were TV actors.

    And giving that last berth to Marvin Hamlisch wasn't about him at all - it was all about Streisand. Anybody else would have had to sing during the whole tribute, but then the camera wouldn't have been focused on her. Disgraceful.......

    February 25, 2013 at 3:50AM EST Reply to Comment
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      AmyG Toby O'B, when you say "they've ignored Harry Morgan...and Patrick McGoohan...with that same argument that they were TV actors," who is the "they" you reference? The Academy's committee that chooses the names for the "In Memoriam" segment is kept highly secret. They're not appearing on television after the broadcast to explain themselves. So "they" have NEVER used "that same argument," much less used it year after year.

      What you have to understand is that there are literally hundreds of Academy members, and entertainment industry professionals who are *not* members of the Academy, who die every year, and the process for choosing names for the reel is extremely competitive and intensely political. In 2007, I tried to get an actor who'd passed away onto the reel and couldn't even get the Academy to give me a name of a person to write to.

      So if you are hearing "that same argument" every year, it isn't from the people who actually make the decisions about the names included in the reel; it is from outside observers making assumptions about how the names are chosen, and why or why not they *think* someone was left off.

      February 26, 2013 at 10:45AM EST
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      Toby O'B "They're not appearing on television after the broadcast to explain themselves. So "they" have NEVER used "that same argument," much less used it year after year."

      From CNN, March 10, 2010:
      In response, the Academy's Bruce Davis, who was responsible for the "in memoriam" segment (and has been since the tradition began in 1993), said late Tuesday: "There's nothing you can say to people, particularly to family members, within a day or two of the show that helps at all. They tend to be surprised and hurt, and we understand that and we're sorry for it."

      Davis, who also says he stands by the decision about Fawcett's absence, had considered including her, but ultimately felt her "remarkable television work" would be more appropriately honored at the TV Academy's Emmys (which she was). He also noted that several notable screenwriters were not included in the tribute.

      From the New York Times, February 8, 2013:
      [Ric Robertson, the Academy’s chief operating officer] said Harry Morgan was skipped because he had become more known for television shows like “Dragnet” and “M*A*S*H” than for movies. “It’s a subjective process,” he added.

      So "they" have spoken out, and I'd say those are two heavy-hitters from the Academy when it comes to who "they" are.....

      February 26, 2013 at 12:02PM EST
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      AmyG You are right; I stand corrected. Still, it is a very secretive process, and it is really unusual to see anyone *ever* take credit for being responsible for it. The year I was working on that particular actor's inclusion, we got several hundred people to write in to the Academy about him — very deliberately stressing his most well-known film role as a famous villain in a popular blockbuster film (that won several industry awards, including one of the 'big six' Oscars) — yet he was still left out, in favor of a bunch of people less well known, including producer/cartoonist Joseph Barbera (who is DEFINITELY more known for his tv work). So I always take it with a grain of salt when they say they often pass over people who are predominantly known for their tv work.

      February 26, 2013 at 12:46PM EST
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    Sherry

    I was actually surprised to find Seth did an okay job. But maybe it was because I went in assuming he was going to annoy the hell out of me. As a result, I ended up being pleasantly surprised at the times that he actually ended up entertaining me. I liked the 'needs no introduction' joke, I liked the self-effacing humor in the monologue (though it did go on too long, and I agree that he should have only shown brief 'clips' rather than doing the entirety of each bit that earned him a mock 'worst host ever' title), I cracked up at the sock puppets being tossed around in a dryer to demonstrate the chaos of the Flight film, and I had no idea that Seth had such a talented singing voice. So... those all got good marks in my book.

    But yes, some of that ridiculous frat boy humor came in too many times and made me eyeroll rather than laugh. And some jokes of his went way too far, but that's what you get when you hire Seth MacFarlane. He's got that side to him and it's not likely to go away. It's like hiring the creators of South Park and then being surprised when they say something offensive. But I'm intrigued about this other side to him, the old Hollywood side you reference -- I had no idea about that, and it actually impressed me, seeing him like that. At any rate, definitely not the worst host ever. He was generally pretty good.

    It's the overall program that needs to be edited down. How many musical numbers were there? How many tributes? Pick one, and be done with it. WAY too much excess, every damn year, and it's so unnecessary. At least Seth tried to deal with it, joking about how it's gone on so long, they're going to go ahead and start the 2014 Oscars right now, or joking about how much certain people have aged during the length of the program.

    As for the winners, I was so pleased for Ben Affleck. I loved his speech, especially that end part about getting up again after you've been knocked down in life.

    And Daniel Day-Lewis was utterly charming and adorable. And funny! He had the best joke of the night, for sure.

    February 25, 2013 at 3:53AM EST Reply to Comment
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    Tedd

    I liked it, overall. It was too long, and the musical numbers got a little onerous (and seriously, what was the deal with the Chicago tributes?), but MacFarlane made me laugh, a lot, and there were enough (mild) surprises and good speeches that I never got bored. Glad I had a DVR though.

    February 25, 2013 at 4:00AM EST Reply to Comment
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      jan I agree. MacFarlane made me laugh several times, I loved the socks in the drier, the Chicago tributes seemed excessive, but I'd rather have more musical numbers than the forced patter that we so often have between presenters: Melissa McCarthy and Paul Rudd were just plain bad, which surprised me. I think it was a better show than it has been for years--certainly much better than when Anne Hathaway and James Franco hosted, and I wasn't that crazy about Billy Crystal this last time--but I also was glad to have my DVR. The Shatner bit went on for too long, but I thought it was funny enough. Maybe I had really low expectations, but I enjoyed it (except for the final number with Kristen Chenoweth).

      February 25, 2013 at 10:38AM EST
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    alynch

    "a musical number listing actresses who have shown their breasts on camera (at times in movies about rape, like 'The Accused')"

    The weird thing about that one is that there are two other less icky Jodie Foster movies (Nell & Catchfire) they could've used for the purposes of that song.

    Overall though, I'm reasonably positive about the show (B- or B). The presenter banter was terrible, but it almost always is, except for when they let presenters write their own material. Seth's jokes were resting steadily at about a 50% success ratio for most of the show.

    February 25, 2013 at 4:02AM EST Reply to Comment
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      Hank Scorpio Wow, you really know your Jodie Foster boob scenes!

      February 25, 2013 at 2:28PM EST
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    troopermsu

    I think it is incredibly disrespectful to have a singer involved with "In Memoriam" because the audience will always feel compelled to applaud the singer's performance; especially when it's Barbara Streisand. That moment should be about reflecting on the lives and careers of the people who've passed since the last Oscar show. It should never, ever be about the performance. Even if it's a tribute to Marvin Hamlisch. And that song is a nostalgic longing for an idealized and inaccurate version of a bad romance. It is decidedly NOT appropriate for memorializing the recently deceased. I feel it trivialized the moment. The producers, and Streisand for that matter, ought to be ashamed of themselves. By far the most disappointing moment of the night. Also, to single out one individual for special tribute like that out of a long list of distinguished members of the Hollywood community is deplorable. If I was a family member of one of the other people mentioned I would be kinda livid. Hamlisch was a wonderful composer and by all accounts a pretty good guy, but so was Ernest Borgnine and his career was just as distinguished as Hamlisch's. Why single out the one over the other (or any of the others)? Simply to get Barbara Streisand to perform live? That's terrible. How many more people watched this show because it was publicized ahead of time that Babs was going to perform? Six? Seven? Not worth it. They should have opened the show with her...you know, when her dwindling numbers of fans are still awake. This shameful exhibition was far more offensive than anything McFarlane did.

    February 25, 2013 at 4:03AM EST Reply to Comment
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      Stewie She's Mother Focker. Who knew she could also sing?

      February 25, 2013 at 9:03AM EST
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      Marty Are you for real? Her song "trivialized the moment?" She wasn't singing at his funeral! You need to lighten up. As for singling out one over the other, he wasn't singled out. But he did compose a lot of music for the movies and the theme was music, after all. Shameful exhibition? Get a life.

      February 25, 2013 at 4:55PM EST
    • Mr_burns_89_01_talkback_profile

      Jonas.Left I thought Streisand singing in the In Memoriam segment made it about her. For some reason the Oscars can't get this segment right. I mean for all the time they gave Babs they had the nerve to snub deserving deceased out of ten seconds each?

      February 25, 2013 at 6:08PM EST
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    Arthur F.

    Exactly - spot on about the split Macfarlane and the interminable length. And he's a guy whose cartoons made a career from showing snippets of ideas and references, not full executions. It was a no-brainer to have match up his singing strength and inclination to "classic" musical numbers.
    There is no need to have pushed the musical numbers tributes and such, it was just silly. It's about movies. Music is part of movies, not the other way around. Waaaaaaay too long. There's a reason that they don't perform each Oscar-nominated song anymore...

    February 25, 2013 at 4:13AM EST Reply to Comment
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    Cousin Larry Appleton

    Pretty spot on with this review. Seth wasn't a total trainwreck, but he had way more misses than hits, which is unsurprising when his shows behave in the same manner.

    The monologue would have been adequate if they just chopped down the length of the Shatner stuff. Initially the idea of trying to spruce up his reviews was solid, but it just went an excruciatingly long time. And the idea of bringing on Shatner just seemed odd and antiquated - an omen for what was to come with "Chicago."

    The biggest disappointment for me, was the Bond "tribute." As a huge Bond fan, I was looking forward to this. I even bought into the rumors about all the Bonds taking the stage. Instead we had a lackluster montage and an - admittedly great - performance of Goldfinger and that was that. Really underwhelming. And as radiant as Halle Berry is, if the female lead in one of the 5 worst (easily) Bond movies is all you can get to represent the franchise, maybe you should scrap the idea altogether.

    The speeches were mostly dull until the very end. I really enjoyed Lawrence, Day-Lewis and Affleck. The rest were mostly forgettable.

    All in all C- seems like a very fair grade.

    February 25, 2013 at 4:15AM EST Reply to Comment
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      CN I was sooo disappointed with the Bond tribute. You can't get one Bond to introduce it, or play more than just three songs. Shirley Bassey was amazing, but just showing clips over the theme song and Live and Let Die is not a tribute. I could have done that from my house. (I could not however sing as great as Bassey did)

      February 25, 2013 at 11:03AM EST
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    Mac S.

    Did it really go 30 min over? According to the telecast schedule I was following, it was right on time.

    February 25, 2013 at 4:22AM EST Reply to Comment
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      Daniela It was supposed to end at 11:30 and it ran until just after midnight.

      February 25, 2013 at 10:57AM EST
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      DonBoy According to Mark Evanier, a writer/blogger who's worked on this kind of thing and knows a lot about the business: they pretty much know how long it's going to run. They lie about the end time in public listings so people in the East will be willing to watch without committing to staying up until midnight.

      February 25, 2013 at 12:38PM EST
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    J

    You nailed it. I groaned when they included the full-length "naughty" bits during the Kirk thing, because it was immediately obvious this was a production with no sense of timing. And though I'll never miss the standard "why we love the movies!" montages, this was a show that really wanted to be the Tonys or the Grammys.

    The very first memorable moment of the whole four hours came 3 1/2 hours in, Daniel Day-Lewis' embrace of Streep and his impeccably delivered speech. Right then it was obvious what the show had been missing: Charm.

    February 25, 2013 at 5:10AM EST Reply to Comment
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